The single-platform creator is dead. Going multiplatform is the only way to survive.

“You never know what’s going to happen.”

The single-platform creator is dead. Going multiplatform is the only way to survive.

As creators spread out, platforms are borrowing ideas and features from each other.

Illustration: Getty Images Plus; Protocol

Before the rise of TikTok, you could find Kris Collins on Vine.

Collins posted for a while before the short-form video network was shut down in 2016. Then, four years later, she found a place on TikTok under the handle “Kall Me Kris,” which has amassed over 40 million followers and made her the most popular TikToker in Canada. But given Vine’s fate, Collins knew she couldn’t only create on one platform, so she branched out to YouTube and Twitch. “You never know what’s going to happen,” she said.

“I am all about stability, and even doing this job, I think it took me 10 months and over 10 million followers to even quit my hairdressing job,” Collins told Protocol. “To be on one platform and to put all my eggs in one basket seemed a little irresponsible, at least for me.”

The single-platform creator is dead, according to Jamie Byrne, YouTube’s senior director of Creative Partnerships. “If you went back two years … you were a YouTuber or you were on Musical.ly or you were an Instagrammer,” Byrne said in an interview with Hootsuite. “Today, it’s table stakes as a creator that you have to be multiplatform.” Collins said being on multiple platforms gives her greater financial stability, helps her avoid burnout and allows her to reach more audience demographics.

As creators spread out, platforms are borrowing ideas and features from each other. Instagram and YouTube are following TikTok with their own short-form video clones; TikTok is trailing YouTube in introducing longer videos. Even Reddit and Pinterest are trying to appease users with their own tools. Sites are also offering monetary incentives — such as tip jars and “creator funds” — to keep social media stars from leaving the platforms and to attract new ones.

Day in my Life www.youtube.com

But Collins said even though platforms are becoming more alike, each space serves a different purpose. On TikTok, Collins is an actress. On YouTube, she’s a vlogger. On Twitch, she can let loose and hang out with fans. And on Instagram, she’s just your everyday person. She said she’s had to organize her daily planner in order to accommodate the different platforms. “It's a little bit of organized chaos,” she said. “I have periods of time that I devote to coming up with the ideas. I have a TikTok column, I have a YouTube column, I have an Instagram column, I have a Twitch column. And then I write down, ‘OK, this is going to be the next five weeks of videos.’”

Collins said she treats TikTok like a “sketch comedy” show, where she builds out and creates skits around various characters like “Katrina” and “Chad.” She’s designed over 30 different characters so far, and she writes scripts around each of those people. “All my characters are my babies,” she said. “That’s what TikTok is to me.”

Even though TikTok has been introducing longer video formats, Collins said she typically doesn’t post a video longer than a minute and 30 seconds to keep viewers engaged. She’s tried making videos between two to three minutes long, but her analytics showed that they weren’t being watched all the way through. “I don't see myself doing longer formats on TikTok at any point,” she said. “Otherwise, I would definitely burn out.” That’s because even a minute-long video can take up to four hours to create. “I’ve tried to focus on quality over quantity,” she said.

Another reason Collins doesn’t need to start making longer videos on TikTok: She’s already on YouTube, where her account has garnered over 5.5 million subscribers. Collins said she uses the space in typical YouTube fashion, through vlogs, Q&As and unboxing and reaction videos. “People get to know me for me, rather than through a character that I've created on TikTok,” she said.

Collins said that unlike TikTok, she has an editor for her YouTube posts to help her focus on filming and writing scripts. And because her YouTube videos are typically 10 to 17 minutes long, she only posts about twice per week. She said she usually doesn’t repost her TikToks to her YouTube channel unless the video did particularly well, in which case she’ll post it as a Short.

She uses Instagram Reels much the same way. While Collins primarily uses the platform to post photos of the behind-the-scenes parts of her life, she sometimes reposts her TikToks to Instagram as Reels because some people don't have access to TikTok in their country. Collins said she doesn’t take Instagram “too seriously.” “Instagram is a little less stressful,” she said. “I allow myself to recycle content there, and then just post fun photos.”

Twitch, on the other hand, is like Collins’ online getaway. “Twitch is my escape from having to script or create anything, and I just get to play games and talk to my audience live,” she said. “[I] hang out with the people that keep me employed.”

Collins said that while she enjoys livestreaming on TikTok, the platform takes a “heavy sum” — reportedly 50% — from Live Gifts, which is TikTok’s version of tip jars. Many creators, including Collins, opt to go live on Twitch or Instagram instead. Instagram doesn’t take a cut from its live gifting feature, Badges, and Twitch reportedly takes its cut from people buying the Bits, not from the creators. Twitch declined to comment on its revenue share.

Now, Collins has about eight streams of revenue coming in from platforms, brand deals and merchandise sales. Collins said she manages her income through a platform called Able, which is designed for self-employed people to keep track of their finances. “It can get very disorganized, and really, really stressful as a self-employed person,” she said. “You get paid at different times and everything.”

Adapting to and finding a place on different platforms as they change isn’t frustrating; in fact, TikTok creator Becca Bastos called it “exciting” because it helps her get more visibility. Bastos became a full-time creator last month, and she’s now in the process of creating her first YouTube channel.

“The more people see it, the more opportunities you’ll get and the more it will reach,” she told Protocol. “For something that you work so hard writing, editing, posting and recording, you want as many people to see it as possible.”

LA is a growing tech hub. But not everyone may fit.

LA has a housing crisis similar to Silicon Valley’s. And single-family-zoning laws are mostly to blame.

As the number of tech companies in the region grows, so does the number of tech workers, whose high salaries put them at an advantage in both LA's renting and buying markets.

Photo: Nat Rubio-Licht/Protocol

LA’s tech scene is on the rise. The number of unicorn companies in Los Angeles is growing, and the city has become the third-largest startup ecosystem nationally behind the Bay Area and New York with more than 4,000 VC-backed startups in industries ranging from aerospace to creators. As the number of tech companies in the region grows, so does the number of tech workers. The city is quickly becoming more and more like Silicon Valley — a new startup and a dozen tech workers on every corner and companies like Google, Netflix, and Twitter setting up offices there.

But with growth comes growing pains. Los Angeles, especially the burgeoning Silicon Beach area — which includes Santa Monica, Venice, and Marina del Rey — shares something in common with its namesake Silicon Valley: a severe lack of housing.

Keep Reading Show less
Nat Rubio-Licht

Nat Rubio-Licht is a Los Angeles-based news writer at Protocol. They graduated from Syracuse University with a degree in newspaper and online journalism in May 2020. Prior to joining the team, they worked at the Los Angeles Business Journal as a technology and aerospace reporter.

While there remains debate among economists about whether we are officially in a full-blown recession, the signs are certainly there. Like most executives right now, the outlook concerns me.

In any case, businesses aren’t waiting for the official pronouncement. They’re already bracing for impact as U.S. inflation and interest rates soar. Inflation peaked at 9.1% in June 2022 — the highest increase since November 1981 — and the Federal Reserve is targeting an interest rate of 3% by the end of this year.

Keep Reading Show less
Nancy Sansom

Nancy Sansom is the Chief Marketing Officer for Versapay, the leader in Collaborative AR. In this role, she leads marketing, demand generation, product marketing, partner marketing, events, brand, content marketing and communications. She has more than 20 years of experience running successful product and marketing organizations in high-growth software companies focused on HCM and financial technology. Prior to joining Versapay, Nancy served on the senior leadership teams at PlanSource, Benefitfocus and PeopleMatter.


SFPD can now surveil a private camera network funded by Ripple chair

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors approved a policy that the ACLU and EFF argue will further criminalize marginalized groups.

SFPD will be able to temporarily tap into private surveillance networks in certain circumstances.

Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Ripple chairman and co-founder Chris Larsen has been funding a network of security cameras throughout San Francisco for a decade. Now, the city has given its police department the green light to monitor the feeds from those cameras — and any other private surveillance devices in the city — in real time, whether or not a crime has been committed.

This week, San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors approved a controversial plan to allow SFPD to temporarily tap into private surveillance networks during life-threatening emergencies, large events, and in the course of criminal investigations, including investigations of misdemeanors. The decision came despite fervent opposition from groups, including the ACLU of Northern California and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which say the police department’s new authority will be misused against protesters and marginalized groups in a city that has been a bastion for both.

Keep Reading Show less
Issie Lapowsky

Issie Lapowsky ( @issielapowsky) is Protocol's chief correspondent, covering the intersection of technology, politics, and national affairs. She also oversees Protocol's fellowship program. Previously, she was a senior writer at Wired, where she covered the 2016 election and the Facebook beat in its aftermath. Prior to that, Issie worked as a staff writer for Inc. magazine, writing about small business and entrepreneurship. She has also worked as an on-air contributor for CBS News and taught a graduate-level course at New York University's Center for Publishing on how tech giants have affected publishing.


These two AWS vets think they can finally solve enterprise blockchain

Vendia, founded by Tim Wagner and Shruthi Rao, wants to help companies build real-time, decentralized data applications. Its product allows enterprises to more easily share code and data across clouds, regions, companies, accounts, and technology stacks.

“We have this thesis here: Cloud was always the missing ingredient in blockchain, and Vendia added it in,” Wagner (right) told Protocol of his and Shruthi Rao's company.

Photo: Vendia

The promise of an enterprise blockchain was not lost on CIOs — the idea that a database or an API could keep corporate data consistent with their business partners, be it their upstream supply chains, downstream logistics, or financial partners.

But while it was one of the most anticipated and hyped technologies in recent memory, blockchain also has been one of the most failed technologies in terms of enterprise pilots and implementations, according to Vendia CEO Tim Wagner.

Keep Reading Show less
Donna Goodison

Donna Goodison (@dgoodison) is Protocol's senior reporter focusing on enterprise infrastructure technology, from the 'Big 3' cloud computing providers to data centers. She previously covered the public cloud at CRN after 15 years as a business reporter for the Boston Herald. Based in Massachusetts, she also has worked as a Boston Globe freelancer, business reporter at the Boston Business Journal and real estate reporter at Banker & Tradesman after toiling at weekly newspapers.


Kraken's CEO got tired of being in finance

Jesse Powell tells Protocol the bureaucratic obligations of running a financial services business contributed to his decision to step back from his role as CEO of one of the world’s largest crypto exchanges.

Photo: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Kraken is going through a major leadership change after what has been a tough year for the crypto powerhouse, and for departing CEO Jesse Powell.

The crypto market is still struggling to recover from a major crash, although Kraken appears to have navigated the crisis better than other rivals. Despite his exchange’s apparent success, Powell found himself in the hot seat over allegations published in The New York Times that he made insensitive comments on gender and race that sparked heated conversations within the company.

Keep Reading Show less
Benjamin Pimentel

Benjamin Pimentel ( @benpimentel) covers crypto and fintech from San Francisco. He has reported on many of the biggest tech stories over the past 20 years for the San Francisco Chronicle, Dow Jones MarketWatch and Business Insider, from the dot-com crash, the rise of cloud computing, social networking and AI to the impact of the Great Recession and the COVID crisis on Silicon Valley and beyond. He can be reached at bpimentel@protocol.com or via Google Voice at (925) 307-9342.

Latest Stories